Performance Marketing company Online Media Group (OMG) has announced the appointment of Bharat Malik as Country Manager, marking a significant move from the affiliate marketing business. Malik was previously Head of Online Marketing at Yatra.com. Malik’s appointment comes a few months after OMG India launched its India office, in May. OMG had been powering the affiliate marketing business ShooGloo, started by former DGM India exec LD Sharma. DGM was the first affiliate network to launch in India, four years ago.

On Malik’s appointment, Richard Syme, CEO of OMG Group says in a statement that the potential currently lies in the growing the affiliate marketing business of the online travel sector, from which Malik hails: “We know over 75% of Indian E-Commerce is in the travel sector but only 20% of these brands currently utilize affiliate marketing – there is a massive potential for growth.” Note that Yatra.com is already listed as a client on OMG India’s website.

Potential For Growth In A Recession?

India hasn’t seen much competition in the affiliate marketing networks, and the launch of OMG and the appointment of Malik suggests that there might be another push. In affiliate marketing, advertisers pay only a cost per acquisition (of customer), whether following a registrations (to a job site) or a lead being generated for a policy. It offers the most measurable return on investment to advertisers, but also takes entirely a sales based approach to advertising. With fears of a recession, perhaps OMG senses that advertisers will once again focus on closing sales, and go easy on brand building.

Why Doesn’t India Have More Affiliate Marketing Businesses?

Two years ago, we’d asked Adrian Moss of Asia Digital Holdings (which owns DGM India) about why there aren’t more affiliate networks in India. Not much has changed since. This is what he had to say then:

Affiliate Marketing is not a simple business. For people coming in from scratch, it’s difficult to get a critical mass in place. Launching an affiliate network, client education…but you’re more likely to see the evolution of performance advertising players in a multichannel format, with affiliate marketing as one of several routes to deliver for clients. The fact that there haven’t been too many affiliate marketing channels launched doesn’t change the fact that ROI is going to be the biggest driving force behind the return to high level of spends, but also the massive increase in digital spends over the next two years.

There are loads of search companies around, they’re educating clients about the component of performance based advertising, but not many people who can deal with the complexities that come when you use multiple channels together. We have 10 years of experience of dealing with this – for example, if you use search, affiliate and display, and you have three different technology platforms in use, all of them will potentially report on the same sale and say it’s theirs. Duplicated tracking is an issue. We know how to deal with it.

More here. OMG, in comparison, knows how this business works.